Around Ealing October 2018 | Page 23


Big changes for rented homes

Live in or own a house in multiple occupation ( HMO )? Big changes to the way licensing works will come into force on 1 October . Quinton Drawbridge reports .

Under the new national rules , mandatory licensing will be extended to cover almost all HMOs occupied by five or more people ( non-family members ) where there is some sharing of facilities , regardless of how tall the building is . Previously , these rules had been limited to properties three or more storeys high . Multi-occupied flats in purposebuilt blocks will continue to be exempt as long as the block contains three or more self-contained flats .

The rules will also include the introduction of national minimum bedroom sizes . For the first time , landlords will be required to ensure their tenants have a reasonable amount of space in their bedrooms . This is aimed at stopping unscrupulous landlords from carving up houses into ever smaller rooms to maximise rent .
Under the new licences HMO landlords will also have to ensure they provide proper waste disposal and storage facilities for their tenants , to help prevent problems with waste .
A transitional period will give landlords time to comply with the new standards .
Councillor Peter Mason , Ealing Council ’ s cabinet member for housing , planning and transformation , said : “ In 2016 the council made it a legal requirement for landlords to obtain a licence to operate any HMO in Ealing . Changes to the licensing conditions for privately rented homes in general were brought in by the council last year . This new change will also help us raise the bar on standards for renting privately , ensuring residents can access affordable rented homes of good quality .”
STOPPING ROGUES Local authorities in England have substantial new powers to crack down on rogue landlords and agents . Councils can impose civil penalties of up to £ 30,000 for failing to license or breaching conditions ; and the council , or the tenants , can apply to reclaim up to 12 months ’ rent .
Councillor Joanna Camadoo , Ealing Council ’ s cabinet member for community safety and inclusion , said : “ Rogue landlords who don ’ t manage their properties properly , and the unscrupulous letting agencies that turn a blind eye to such behaviour , should take note of this warning . We will not allow poorly maintained properties , waste or fly-tipping to blight the lives of our local residents and let down responsible landlords trying to provide decent quality , rented accommodation in the borough .” Find out more at ealingnewsextra . co . uk / features / hmo – including an online search tool for checking for rogue landlords and letting agents .
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